Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Drop: A Lift

I saw The Drop last night - the Dennis Lehane movie (he wrote the screenplay, based on his short story, "Animal Rescue"), starring James Gandolfini in his final performance and Tom Hardy in what, by my lights, is probably the best performance of his career so far.

The plot is intricate, with lots of sharp, dangerous, fast and slow moving pieces, and it's all brought together beautifully in the end, with a twist that's stunning when it happens but perfectly plausible in retrospect - in other words, precisely the kind of surprise ending you would want.

Tom Hardy delivers of powerful performance as Bob, who seems well over his head in the lethal currents swirling all around him, but has a quiet strength and a heart, which we see applied to Nadia, the complicated love interest, and Rocco, an adorable puppy.  As a police detective remarks, you don't see Bob, even though he's right in front of you.  And Hardy's portrayal is as memorable as it gets, like a low key Pacino, if that makes any sense.

Gandolfini as Bob's cousin Marv was outstanding, making it all the sadder that this is his last performance. As he did in all his renditions of people in one way or another involved in criminal activity, Gandolfini managed to project a no-nonsense toughness combined with an appealing humanity.

All of this is played out against a tableau of a bar owned by the Russian mob, and used a "drop" place for its illegally gotten gains, and a psycho not connected to the mob who is thrown in for good and bad measure.  The pace and the dialogue are reminiscent of Tarantino at his best, and I found The Drop is one of the most appealing movies of this kind to come along in years.

a different kind of crime

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